I know it's actually tomorrow, but St. Stephens Preschool is celebrating today, and Clare and I have spent the last couple evenings at the kitchen table making 43 valentines for the intermediate class of 2's and 3's. Yes, I said 43. We did it too. It took some time, and I'm now completely out of stickers, and our construction paper hearts with random stickers on them (Easter stickers, NYC stickers, cowboy stickers, ABC stickers, animals and birds and flowers and everything in the world except, you know, hearts!) are not going to win any arts-and-crafts prizes, but she put the stickers on them her own self, and proudly posted them into her friends' paper bags this morning. It was delightful.
So, that's great and all, and I like how having a little kid's perspective on Valentine's makes it so sweetly about friendship and inclusion--it's a nice break from the cloying romance and chocolate version, which of course puts my back up not only because I, like practically every other woman I know, has had some dreadful and traumatic Valentine's Day experience to poison it, but also because all the romance and chivalry and whatnot is so dependent on notions of the feminine and masculine and I would prefer to trash the medieval pedestal rather than climb upon it. But really, V-Day was redeemed for me when I participated in PTS's production of the Vagina Monologues, three years ago now I guess (it was B.C.--before Clare--by about 4 months). I like the irony of taking a day that consistently places women in that submissive recipient position and making it about empowerment.
If you've never seen the Monologues or have no idea what V-Day is, check it out. Chances are there's a production near you.